A Tiara for Teaira
Another tricky 2 game slate is up today. The first game will tip at 11 a.m. EST, with the latter game starting at 7 p.m. EST. These slates are always a little strange, as the time between the games is actually longer than the combined length of the games. With that said, thankfully, the biggest question mark will be answered early in the morning, so let’s get into it!
Indiana Fever @ Atlanta Dream
The Indiana Fever come into this game sporting the second best offensive rating in the league. Unfortunately, they will be missing a big piece, in all likelihood, in Natalie Achonwa, as she is doubtful with a calf strain. Immediately, this makes Teaira McCowan (5.7k, 4.6k) an incredible play on either FanDuel or DraftKings. In her rookie year, McCowan has put up 0.9 fantasy points per minute, and should easily play 25-30 minutes. The absence of Achonwa opens up many rebounds and shots for McCowan to take. She will be in almost all of my lineups.
Aside from McCowan, there is not a whole lot else to like. Atlanta has played at a below average pace so far this year, and so have the Fever. The combination of these slow paces should lead to a defensive game, with not very many points scored. Candice Dupree (9.5k, 7.4k) could thrive in this environment, however, due to the absence of Achonwa. McCowan has been lower usage than Achonwa so far this year, even though McCowan has been coming off of the bench. I’d expect her usage to get even lower, and Dupree to pick up some shots. 35 fantasy points is not out of the question for Dupree.
Atlanta has also lost a player, Alex Bentley, as she heads overseas for EuroBasket. Bentley was playing backup point guard, and there does not seem to be a home-run candidate to pick up where Bentley left off. In this case, it might be worth going to Renee Montgomery (6.7k, 4k) who may see more minutes as the backup point guard options are not great. Though Montgomery has struggled so far this year, she is still a great three point shooter, and have the ball in her hands a lot.
Other options on the Dream are Tiffany Hayes (8.1k, 5.5k) and Brittney Sykes (7.4k, 6.3k), who may see more ball-handling duties without Bentley. Hayes seems ready to explode for a huge game, with 25+ fantasy points in her last two outings. It seems as though she is over her ankle injury, as she has taken 46 shots in her last three games, after an extremely low usage in her first three. Sykes is a good option, and could move back into the starting lineup today.
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Chicago Sky @ New York Liberty
This game should be played at a much higher tempo than the former, and with that comes a lot of fantasy goodness. The players most likely to take advantage of this fast pace on Chicago are Diamond DeShields (10k, 7.5k) and Jantel Lavender (6.5k, 5k). DeShields has been a beast this year, producing over 1 fantasy point per minute as she continues her sophomore season. Lavender, on the other hand, should play 30 minutes as the Sky match up with the bigger Liberty frontcourt.
I also must mention Courtney Vandersloot (10.2k, 7.9k) who, while expensive, flashes triple-double upside. Though I would much rather have DeShields, Vandersloot fills up all areas of the stat sheet, and should see over 10 assists in this match.
The Liberty is where the great plays really are. Obviously, TIna Charles (10.4k, 8k) is always in consideration, especially with as high of a pace as this game should have. Her usage has been down recently, however, which is cause for worry. Amanda Zahui B. (9.7k, 7.6k) has been one of the best players in the WNBA recently, coming off of a 37 point, 7 rebound game. Her price reflects how great she has been, but I do think she comes back to earth sooner rather than later. Zahui B., unfortunately, is a pass for me.
All three Liberty guards are in play as well. If I had to rank them (taking into account price as well), I would put Asia Durr (6.3k, 4.9k) first, followed by Brittany Boyd (6.9k, 5.8k) and then Kia Nurse (8.8k, 6k). Durr comes in at a low, low price, but has been a lock for over 30 minutes and more than 10 shots for the better part of a week. Boyd saw her season-high in minutes last game (26), and hopefully gets even higher, as she is super at producing fantasy points (0.9 fpm this year). Kia Nurse has been incredible, but I cannot see her getting 16 free throw attempts as she did in her last game, as Chicago fouls at about a league average rate. As well, her price on DraftKings is just too high.
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